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tv   News4 This Week  NBC  February 16, 2013 5:30am-6:00am EST

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welcome to "news4 this week." >> hi, everyone. i'm veronica johnson. we're going to show you some of the more interesting local stories making news this week. among them, trusting customer reviews. our i team finds out how money plays a role on what you might see online. the best apps for weight loss. we'll show you new tools to help you get healthy to fit right in the pat am of your hand. new hope for a lost pet. how a local shelter nursed this dog back to health and what it can teach other dog owners. first, you need a plumber or a mechanic but you don't know who to trust? so you go to angie's list, minute yelp or some other customer review site, but can you trust the first thing that pops on your screen as being the
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best? news4's tisha thompson shows us why some businesses say it's all about the money. >> reporter: customer review sites offering honest to goodness opinions written by real customers, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. but how big a part does money play? >> i'm a firm believer that, you know, you have to earn where you rank. >> rami is the owner of a plumbing company in sterling, virginia. >> everything i check sd pretty positive reviews. >> reporter: he znts understand why angie's list places his company eight pages in below companies with lower grades until he got a call from angie's list asking him to advertise on their site. >> it was in excess of $50,000 to be ranked above companies that had lower rankings than we did. >> no company can pay to be on angie's list. >> reporter: the founder angie hicks says it's true, advertisers get better placement on the website. but, she says, they have to make the grade.
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>> only "a" or "b" rated companies are eligible to advertise, and that's all for a discount to our members. >> reporter: that discount is the key. it's the only hint you get on the search results page that the company is a paid advertiser. the company does explain its policy in its fact section, but it isn't necessarily easy to find. >> we already have a posite review. we work hard every day to do that. our technicians work hard to maintain that reputation, so why is it that i should have to pay you to be ranked higher than someone who doesn't do quite as good as a job. >> reporter: john says he's having a similar experience with a different site. >> i have lost 30% to 40% of my revenue, and it is really damaging my business tremendously. >> reporter: he joined a class action lawsuit against yelp claiming the internet company removes four and five-star ratings after companies refuse to advertise on the website. >> i denied advertising. i actually had yelp up on my computer, and immediately within
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ten minutes a five-star disappeared, drop down and the one star went to the top. >> absolutely not. absolutely not. the whole point of an online consumer review service is that consumers have to trust the content. >> reporter: yelp says advertisers only get a banner ad at the top of each page. money, he says, never influences ratings or their placement. >> the advertisers don't get to control their reviews. they don't get to reorder their reviews. they don't get to do anything but get an ad on top. >> reporter: but yelp does filter what it considers fake or unreliable ratings. in court documents yelp says it removed six five-star ratings from the website because it believes they were written by mercurio's wife. less clear is why they filtered out at least 56 high star reviews, something you can only see if you click on this link at the bottom of the review page. >> if you look up real techniques, it immediately showed bad reviews on me, customers wouldn't comment and i lost revenue. >> reporter: the class action
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lawsuit against yelp was initially dismissed but it's being appealed with an expected ruling coming some time in may. both sites say you can change the way you see the sites by the way you sort. well, now to a move that's getting terrible reviews in farragut square. park police say a 140-year-old tree there was cut down by mistake. they say contractors missed the markings on the correct tree. they ended up cutting down a ginko tree that was planted beaver 1886. it's a growing problem across the district. the tree canopy has dropped from 50% to 36% over the last decade. well, have you taken a close look at your bank account lately? we are not talking about the balance, the bottom line. hey, we're talking about those bank fees. liz crenshaw has the warnings about penalty that is might have you taking a closer look at your statement. >> i'm just glad i found out
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about it before the account went down to zero. >> reporter: susan capuano started a money market account with hopes to earn interest, but instead she saw she was losing money every month. >> since july they've been deducting a $15 maintenance fee every month and i'm like, oh, my gosh. >> reporter: capuano noticed the $15 fee over a six-month period, $90 in fees. she says the charges started after she transferred $2,500 from her money market account to her checking account. >> i was told that i didn't maintain a certain balance and that was the reason the fee was tritionerred. >> reporter: bank fees are popping up in all kinds of bank accounts, even everyday checking. >> fees for various things that consumers really don't understand. >> reporter: kathleen, a spokesperson for the center for responsible lending, says the nonprofit receives a lot of complaints about new banking fees.
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>> what's happening is banks are making less money on some things. >> reporter: the reason? new federal regulations have reduced bank revenues from overdraft fees and debit card swipe fees. so many banks are changing the rules on when you get hit with a fee. for example, if you don't direct deposit your paycheck, you may get hit with a fee. if your balance falls below a certain minimum, you may get hit with a fee. and that minimum balance has gone up for some. a bank survey says the average minimum checking account balance to avoid a fee is now $723. the american bankers association says most fees can be avoided but adds many banks have found it necessary to recoup costs associated with checking accounts due to massive new legislative and regulatory burdens. so what's a bank customer to do? well, check your bank statement and website and know what fees you are paying.
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>> people should be more aggressive about assessing what the fees different banks charge, shopping around, going to credit union banks, looking to see who will provide banking services that they use at a lower cost. people bank differently, so they really should compare. >> reporter: capuano asked her bank for a refund, but it would not give her back the $90 it deducted in fees, so she took action on her account. >> i closed it. >> if it still doesn't make sense or if it makes you angry, the american bankers association provides tips on how to avoid bank fees. you can find them by logging on to our website, and just search avoid fees. she helped make a splash during the super bowl. now we're catching up with destiny's child member michelle williams to see what's next for her. plus, find out how a local contestant on "the biggest loser" decided to start his loser" decided to start his batshe makes things fun.
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former member of destiny's child, the group that launched beyonce's career, is performing on stage here in the district. michelle williams is in the hit rodway musical "fellow" which kicked off its tour at shakespeare theater and she talked to news4 about what's next? ♪ >> reporter: she's best known for singing and dancing as part of the trio destiny's child. since the group decided to focus on their solo careers almost a decade ago, michelle williams has built a brand of her own. what differs michelle williams from destiny's child? >> to me she's the same girl, the same woman. okay. she's grown. she has grown up. ♪ >> reporter: and her impressive resume is growing. not only is she hard at wor on her fourth solo album, she's headlining the national tour for the tony award winning musical playing the feisty role of the
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love interest sandra isadore. >> i love the fact i can be a little bossy, and i believe i'm bossy in real life. my family calls me sergeant. you do have to make it your own in a way, but i am staying true to the integrity of what she was about. >> reporter: and williams had to be honest with herself admitting recently she's overcome years of moderate depression. >> you know, i work out. i think positive things. and my surroundings is so important, who you keep around you. >> reporter: williams says she loves feeding off the audience when she's on stage. >> man, i'm so mad that i'm not in some of these numbers like "yellow fever." i said you know what? i'm a kanye west little mama you and just come on the stage and start dancing. >> and she hopes everyone who sees the musical walks away with one simple message. >> live life, right, and just love.
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>> that looks good. and coming up, it's more than just a competition. still ahead, a maryland man on "the biggest loser" shares his biggest motivation for dropping weight. and a local working mom talks [ stefan ] with a cold or flu, nighttime nasal congestion
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hey, it's hard to believe, but this year marks season 14 of "the biggest loser." one of the contestants, michael dorsey, is from up the road in maryland just outside of baltimore. jim recently caught up with his wife who told us how the college professor, that's right, is finally starting to win his battle against the bulge. >> keep going. ten. that's it, mike. >> he always says he's a comfort eater, so, you know, anything happens we always turn to food. >> one more. >> reporter: when michael dorsey walked into the biggest loser ranch he weighed 444 pounds making him the heaviest conte
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contender this season. his wife chavella says all that weight was the result of eating too much and exercising too far little. >> michael has tried different fads, different weight loss programs to try to get the weight off. a lot of times he was successful but, you know, true success is when you're able to keep it off, and that was always the hardest part for him. he wasn't able to keep it off. >> every day this is what it's going to feel like until we get more and more of that weight off. >> reporter: after sweating it out with trainer bob harper and the blue team, he has lost 80 pounds so far this season. his wife says his new motivation came from the recent birth of their baby boy. >> once we had the baby last year, it was at that point where he basically said, you know, if i don't get this weight off, my son is not going to be able to grow up and have me as a father because i'm not going to be around anymore. >> hardest thing i ever done. >> she says she's proud of his ro gres and the changes he's made since getting back home. he's changed the way he's eating, including more greens and veggies in his meals. and he's going to the gym even
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dragging his wife along with him. >> it's been exciting. i love to see the transformation in him. it's a new person. he's a total new person. still that big same smile, still the personality, but he's much more confident. >> always helps when you have somebody to push you. well, here is an extra little push, too. if you're finding you need that shove, reaching your own fitness goals, you might want to reach for your smartphone. angie goff shows us some of the best apps to keep you on track. >> reporter: one month into the new year and that resolution to get fit so easily falls behind. >> there's a saying in spanish -- that the sheet stuck to me. there are some 340r7x tmornings sheets stick to me. >> reporter: time is limited and motivation doesn't always come easy which is why she taps into her personal trainer on her
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smartphone. >> i use the nexercise app. you can keep it on your body while you're working out. it logs your workout. i use it when i run, when i workout here in my home. >> reporter: the d.c. based app is like a gps tracker for weight loss. it's also a game pitting her up against her friends. >> we can nudge each other to say i haven't seen you working out in a while, come on. when i see some of my friends jumping me in points, i'm like, no, no, no, i have to get in a workout today. when i see where i land in that points, i'm like maybe i can get in another walk at lunchtime. >> all kinds of incentives for breaking a sweat. you can see how much you're willing to pay if you miss a workout. those who skip the gym feed the pool and the dedicated split the money. fit bit is like a diary for logging food, activities and weight and it even works offline. for $100, you can get a fit bit
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smart pedometer. and gaining traction is moves. carry your phone in your pocket or bag and it tracks area daily steps wllt you're walking, driving, running, orb cycling. download go ji. it will help you make delicious stuff that's healthy. go through your pantry or refrigerator and pick out foods you have already bought. all you have to do is enter them into the app and it's going to come up with healthy recipes that include most of them. for her fitness goals she uses multiple apps saying the more you tap, the more you stay on track. >> it's usually a three-leg stool. the fitness, the nutrition, and you have to have the support. >> reporter: and don't forget, a little fun. angie goff, news4. >> so all of these apps you can use on your iphone or your android device. all you have to do is go to google play or you can search diet apps on our website, next, the incredible journey
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for one lost dog and how local animal rescue officials helped.
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nba hall of famer magic johnson came to do d.c. with a message for high school and college students. get tested for hiv. before meeting with president obama, johnson spoke at howard university hospital. he owns the company that serves as the hospital's food service provider. johnson was diagnosed with hiv some 22 years ago. he says research shows that the highest percentage of new cases, especially among african-americans, is in people between the age of 13 and 24. well, a small dog found starving on the side of the road is recovering at a local animal shelter. she got lucky. her jarrony is paved with a lot of good people doing the right thing. but it is also a cautionary tale for dog owners.
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>> reporter: her name is esperanza. that's spanish for hope. and it was a combination of hope and luck and generosity that brought her to the washington animal rescue league. >> she's one of the skinyest dogs i have seen alive. >> reporter: he esperanza was s and bones, found on the side of a road in rural south carolina. >> and she was eating road kill, and she was fighting off vultures. >> reporter: the rescues in that state couldn't helper but wanted to. so they shipped her in the league in washington which thought some food, some afction would do the trick. >> every animal is an individual, and we want to do everything that we can to help as many as we can. >> reporter: but food wasn't helping. and esperan got worse. so they made the call to operate to see if there was a problem. that's a risky procedure on such a debilitated animal. >> it was very tough making the call. we basically did surgery because we didn't know what else to do. >> reporter: the doctors discovered the problem, something common lodged in her
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intestine. when esperanza was starving, she ate corn cobs. corn cobs can be lethal to dogs. >> it's not that unusual for dogs to eat corn cobs and that's something your viewing public might want to know is never give your dog corn cobs because this is not the first dog we have take than out of. >> reporter: he is per ran za is dolling with, gaining weight and ready to be adopted. >> she came in one of those really special animals that, you know, you never forget. she came in and even though she was in horrible shape, she was loving, she was affectional. >> reporter: her ribs are still a little close to the surface, but she is a lucky dog who now has more than hope for a good life. >> such a great story, and, of course, the shelter is a wonderful place to meet a new friend or add to the family. thanks for news4 this week. i'm veronica johnson. thanks for joining us. until next time, be safe, be kind, remember to be happy.
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